President Obama, Secretary Clinton Mark the Holiday of Nowruz

Posted by DipNote Bloggers
March 20, 2012

Today, President and First Lady Obama extended best wishes to all those who are celebrating Nowruz around the world. President Obama said, "In communities and homes from America to southwest Asia, families and friends are coming together to celebrate the hope that comes with renewal.""To the people of Iran, this holiday comes at a time of continued tension between our two countries. But as people gather with their families, do good deeds, and welcome a new season, we are also reminded of the common humanity that we share.

"There is no reason for the United States and Iran to be divided from one another. Here in the United States, Iranian-Americans prosper and contribute greatly to our culture. This year, an Iranian production -- "A Separation" -- won America's highest honor for a foreign film. Our navies have confronted the danger of piracy, with U.S. sailors even rescuing Iranian citizens who had been taken hostage. And from Facebook to Twitter -- from cell phones to the Internet -- our people use the same tools to talk to one another, and to enrich our lives.

"Yet increasingly, the Iranian people are denied the basic freedom to access the information that they want. Instead, the Iranian government jams satellite signals to shut down television and radio broadcasts. It censors the Internet to control what the Iranian people can see and say. The regime monitors computers and cell phones for the sole purpose of protecting its own power. And in recent weeks, Internet restrictions have become so severe that Iranians cannot communicate freely with their loved ones within Iran, or beyond its borders. Technologies that should empower citizens are being used to repress them.

"Because of the actions of the Iranian regime, an electronic curtain has fallen around Iran -- a barrier that stops the free flow of information and ideas into the country, and denies the rest of the world the benefit of interacting with the Iranian people, who have so much to offer.

"I want the Iranian people to know that America seeks a dialogue to hear your views and understand your aspirations. That's why we set up a Virtual Embassy, so you can see for yourselves what the United States is saying and doing. We're using Farsi on Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus. And even as we've imposed sanctions on the Iranian government, today, my Administration is issuing new guidelines to make it easier for American businesses to provide software and services into Iran that will make it easier for the Iranian people to use the Internet.

"The United States will continue to draw attention to the electronic curtain that is cutting the Iranian people off from the world. And we hope that others will join us in advancing a basic freedom for the Iranian people: the freedom to connect with one another, and with their fellow human beings.

"Over the last year, we have learned once more that suppressing ideas never succeeds in making them go away. The Iranian people are the heirs to a great and ancient civilization. Like people everywhere, they have the universal right to think and speak for themselves. The Iranian government has a responsibility to respect these rights, just as it has a responsibility to meet its obligations with regard to its nuclear program. Let me say again that if the Iranian government pursues a responsible path, it will be welcomed once more among the community of nations, and the Iranian people will have greater opportunities to prosper.

"So in this season of new beginnings, the people of Iran should know that the United States of America seeks a future of deeper connections between our people -- a time when the electronic curtain that divides us is lifted and your voices are heard; a season in which mistrust and fear are overcome by mutual understanding and our common hopes as human beings."

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton also released a message on Nowruz. She said, "I am delighted to send best wishes to all those celebrating the festival of Nowruz. For over 3,000 years, Nowruz has been a time of hope for millions of people around the world. The spirit of compassion, family, and renewal is deeply woven throughout all of the rich cultural traditions of Nowruz, and reminds us of our shared commitment to a better world.

"The people of the United States join you in welcoming the opportunities of this new year and the possibilities for strengthening ties of family and friends. And as we face new challenges, we remain committed to our support for universal human rights and the freedom of expression -- rights that promote peace and progress. May your Nowruz be glorious, and all your days be Nowruz."Related Content: Facilitating Internet Freedom in Iran from the U.S. Department of Treasury's official blog, Treasury Notes



March 21, 2012

John in Canada writes:

....The regime monitors computers and cell phones for the sole purpose of protecting its own power," Obama added.

.....and our regimes in Canada, US and Britain dont?(laugh)

March 26, 2012

W.W. writes:

hope is an evil spirit... America got faith....

March 25, 2012

Mo in Iran writes:

Mr. Obama, Thank you...

Shahram P.
United Kingdom
May 28, 2012

Shahram P. in the United Kingdom writes:

The people of Iran want to live in peace with the rest of the world including the United States. They look towards other nations for support against human rights abuses by the government of Iran. Freedom from repression, release from the chains of widespread poverty, end to government corruption and social degeneration is the wish of the majority of the people of Iran.

The leaders of the regime in Iran talk about external threats and pressure including from United States, all an escape goat to divert attentions from widespread dissatisfaction within Iran. If most of the world is bad and as they claim the government of Iran is good and popular, then why do they not give the basic freedoms that people need? Why can they not tolerate the slightest criticism even in the form of a benign movie? Why are movie producers under house arrest? Why are journalists and lawyers in prison? Why are leaders of their internal opposition being locked up behind the gates of their homes? Why all the executions?

The people of Iran need more support from the international community for their rights and freedoms. If the government of Iran desires improvements in Iran, it should start by freeing political prisoners, journalists, lawyers, leaders of the opposition and all those others who come under pressure for the slightest dissent. It should also make peace with the rest of the world.


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